Cancer incidence in a cohort of Ontario and Quebec women having bilateral breast augmentation

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Abstract

The possibility that women, who receive breast implants for cosmetic purposes, have increased long-term risks of developing cancer continues to be debated. The objective of our study was to prospectively examine cancer incidence among women who received breast implants. A cohort was assembled of 24,558 women, 18 years of age and older, who underwent bilateral cosmetic breast augmentation, and 15,893 women who underwent other cosmetic procedures in Ontario or Quebec between 1974 and 1989. These plastic surgery patients were selected from the same clinics as the implant population. Incident cancers were identified by linking to Canadian registry data up to December 31, 1997. In total, 676 cancers were identified among women who received breast implants compared to 899 expected based on general population rates (standardized incidence ratio (SIR) = 0.75; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.70–0.81). Overall cancer incidence rates among women who received breast implants were similar to that of the other plastic surgery patients (relative risk (RR) = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.81–1.02). However, women who received breast implants had lower breast cancer rates than the plastic surgery patients (RR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.53–0.79). No increased risks were observed among the implant population for any of the other cancer sites examined. Comparisons involving only women who received breast implants found no association between long-term breast cancer incidence and implant site (submuscular vs. subglandular), fill (saline vs. silicone) or envelope (polyurethane-coated or not). In conclusion, women undergoing cosmetic breast augmentation do not appear to be at an increased long-term risk of developing cancer. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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